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Emerging Technologies in Earth Observations for Agricultural Monitoring

Emerging Technologies event February 2018
What We Do

We utilize this bi-annual workshop to bring the cutting edge of agricultural monitoring from the research community to the operational user community. 



How Satellites Make This Work

Agricultural monitoring using Earth observations (EO) has advanced rapidly in recent years, with scientific and computational developments leading to operational implementation of activities and improvements in monitoring and forecasting at national to global scales. Federal agencies in Canada and the US have collaborated on a number of these activities to work toward solutions to common scientific and operational monitoring goals. Internationally, the GEOGLAM program has similarly focused on advancing the use of EO for operational agricultural monitoring.


The purpose of this bi-annual meeting is to identify gaps and challenges for the operational user community, to share recent results from the research community relevant to operational agricultural monitoring using EO, to identify priority areas for operational R&D activities as well as those approaching readiness levels suitable for transition to operational application, and to discuss plans for future collaboration towards a strong US-Canada agricultural monitoring collaboration.


The most recent NASA Harvest Emerging Technologies Workshop was held on February 25th-27th, 2020 at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD. The meeting was co-sponsored by NASA Harvest, the USDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and was held in the framework of the International GEOGLAM Program. The focus of this year's workshop was to share up-to-date results and advances in the context of operational agricultural monitoring via Earth Observations (EO) from the research community and to define gaps and challenges for the operational user community. Recognizing that significant advances in EO missions and data use are being made in the private sector, the workshop invited NASA Harvest private sector partners to share their recent developments. The presentations and discussion were aimed at: identifying priority areas for operational R&D activities; enhancing the ‘community research agenda’; identifying applications that are approaching readiness levels suitable for transition to operational application; identifying promising new satellite missions, technologies, data initiatives and applications that would meet operational information needs; and to discuss ideas for future national and international collaboration towards strengthening agricultural monitoring.


The 2020 workshop hosted 78 participants, including a number of international NASA Harvest partners. Sessions focused on: agency updates and priorities; improved methods for crop status and yield; fine resolution EO data and methods; data fusion and applications; EO missions; high performance cloud computing; recent developments in soil moisture monitoring; private sector technical innovations; and new contexts for agricultural monitoring. Breakout discussion groups were focused on Cloud Computing, Public Private Partnerships, Soil Moisture and Evapotranspiration, and Crop Type and Yield Estimation.


View the 2020 meeting agenda and partner presentations.


Team Members
Christopher Justice, University of Maryland
Catherine Champagne, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Robert Tetrault, International Production Assessment Division (IPAD), USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS)
David M. Johnson, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
Alyssa Whitcraft, University of Maryland
Mary Mitkish, University of Maryland
Learn More

February 2018

The first Emerging Technologies and Methods in Earth Observation for Agricultural Monitoring meeting, held 15-17 February 2018, was sponsored by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), NASA Harvest, and North American Tripartite Committee on Agricultural Statistics (NATCAS). The event was held at the National Agriculture Library and was hosted by the USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS). Read the Emerging Technologies and Methods in Earth Observation for Agricultural Monitoring Workshop Report (PDF).

Related News
group photo
2020 Emerging Technologies Workshop
Mar 24, 2020